‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”
20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”
31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.
Fat and lean, shoving with flank and shoulder, taking the best and trampling the rest all are descriptions of behaviors displeasing to the Lord. Terms that do not paint a picture of peace, rather one of pain and discomfort. In today’s terms, a me-first attitude with bullying of others and destruction of what is given to others; an attitude of envy and jealousy with evidence of joy at the discomfort and pain of others, all are attitudes and behaviors we can find from the home and schoolyard to the top of our nation’s governing bodies. Greed and self-ambition abounds everywhere with blatant disregard for the needs of others. Here in Ezekiel we see it as the human condition even then. Today we see this lack of care in our government as well as in the leadership of the faith. We see it as low on the totem pole of leadership as the family and schools. Parents determine whether or not they will bear their children based upon their own wants and desires. God likens his people to sheep with shepherds and the shepherds have taken advantage of the sheep they are to care for. They have taken the best for themselves and then trampled the rest. God decides he will judge those who are unfaithful in the care of others and will care for them himself. He shows mercy and provides food, water, rest and safety.
The Lord leads by example. He tells us how he will feed, water, provide rest and safety for his own.
“…“I will make a covenant of peace with them…”
“…there shall be showers of blessing. …”
“…they shall dwell safely,…they shall no longer be consumed with hunger…”
Caring for our basic needs and doing so in abundance.
“…I will raise up for them a garden of renown,…”
He loves His own and cares for them. His statement “… then they shall know…” shows His desire for a people who know and respect Him, a people who will love him in return and treat each other with the same attitudes of selflessness and service. When we love each other as He loves us, serving one another is not a chore and the meanness of bullying dissipates. His words of comfort – ” …You are my sheep…I am your God…” can be ours.